Sexual Abuse Counseling
Did You Experience An Unwanted Sexual Encounter During Childhood?
Are you struggling to move on from sexual trauma that occurred years, even decades ago? Is this a secret that you've held onto for years? Do you wonder why you haven't been able to let go of it? Do have you difficulty maintaining trusting relationships and navigating everyday responsibilities? Are you feeling extreme guilt and shame? Do you blame yourself for what happened? Perhaps the trauma has manifested physically, and you’re experiencing heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweaty palms, insomnia or digestive issues. Do you often feel on edge and afraid that something will go terribly wrong? It may be the case that you feel persistently unhappy or emotionally numb and struggle with low self-esteem, grief and abandonment. When you feel your emotions becoming more intense, do you turn to alcohol, drugs and/or self-harming behaviors to mitigate your discomfort? Intense feelings of helplessness and hopelessness may make it difficult to concentrate at work, interact with others, and even take good care of yourself. Do you feel disconnected and dissatisfied, and long to move forward feeling fulfilled and at ease?
Living with painful memories from the past can profoundly impact your ability to feel stable and foster healthy relationships. Adult survivors of sexual abuse often struggle with depression, insomnia, night terrors, flashbacks, digestive issues, substance abuse and eating disorders. You may have strong physical reactions to stress and fear, such as extreme fatigue or difficulty breathing, headaches and nausea. You may often feel disconnected from your body and surroundings, unable to fully engage in your life. Because these sensations can be difficult to understand and communicate to others, you may feel isolated, misunderstood and unsure where to turn for help.
You Are Not Alone
If you are an adult survivor of sexual abuse, you are not alone. Every eight minutes a child is sexually assaulted and 93 percent know the perpetrator, according to Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). Men and women ages 12-34 are at the highest risk of facing assault. It’s common for troubling memories and feelings from the past to resurface following a more recent trauma, such as an accident, illness or another unwanted sexual encounter.
Survivors of multiple traumas often experience long-term physical and mental health problems. If left untreated, the effects of child abuse can lead to unchecked developmental difficulties, as well as relational difficulties, chronic health conditions and severe depression and anxiety. Even if you don’t know or understand exactly what happened when you were a child, but know something is not right, you are not alone and help is available. There are many resources available for processing and healing trauma. With the support and guidance of an experienced sexual abuse counselor, you can better understand and process your distress and move forward into a lighter, more present life.
Sexual Abuse Therapy Can Help You Heal
Therapy can be very effective in healing the physical and emotional pain associated with childhood trauma. Our work will first focus on alleviating any physical discomforts, such as chest pain, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, feeling agitated or restless, trembling, panic attacks and more. In safe, confidential sessions, you will learn to recognize warning signs and triggers and attain the coping strategies needed to lessen and even avoid those sensations. As you begin to feel increasingly more balanced and in control, we can also explore how trauma has affected your self-esteem and confidence, personal wellbeing and ability to maintain healthy relationships, giving you the insight and tools needed to improve your daily life.
Through sessions with me, you will also learn about why you feel the way you do. When someone experiences a frightening event, the body has a natural survival response. However, if the fear at that moment never fully processed, the pain associated with that event can get trapped and buildup resulting in a separation between mind and body. Trauma counseling can help reintegrate the mind and body and discharge the excess energy built up in your system to restore your mind and body back to stability.
At a pace that feels comfortable and safe for you, you can learn effective coping strategies that allow you to have more control over unwanted sensations. I use a variety of empirically driven approaches to treating childhood trauma, including breathing exercises, grounding exercises, somatic experiencing therapy, hakomi therapy, EMDR, mindfulness, and art therapy. Because everyone experiences and processes trauma differently, my approach is completely tailored to address your needs and therapy goals. Ultimately, we want to restore your system to a state that feels grounded, safe, resilient and able to move forward.
I’ve been working with adult survivors of sexual abuse since the beginning of my career. With the guidance and support of an experienced sexual abuse counselor, it’s possible to experience immediate relief from physical discomforts as well as identify and address how the trauma is impacting you today. Over time, it’s possible to increase satisfaction and fulfillment in your everyday life.
You may still have some questions about childhood trauma and healing from sexual abuse…
I had an awful experience with a previous therapist, and I’m afraid to try therapy again.
First, I must acknowledge that reaching out for help shows profound bravery and resilience. Trusting and opening up to someone can be really difficult, and it’s my intention to meet and honor you wherever you’re at. Every therapist works differently, and if you’ve been to therapy before, I will take the time to learn what you liked and didn’t like about that experience so that we don’t repeat your bad experiences here. My approach is also client-centered, so you set the pace and comfort level of our sessions together. Your wellbeing will always be at the forefront of our work.
I doubt therapy can help me.
There are several resources and empirically driven techniques that help with the processing of trauma. From the first session, you can learn coping strategies that can immediately help alleviate physical discomfort and distress. The emotional impact that often accompanies childhood sexual abuse will require more time and attention. Can I say that therapy will cure all your problems related to this issue? No, I can’t. I can’t change what happened. However, I can help you live differently and enjoy more ease and fulfillment in your day-to-day life. I can help you feel more balanced, in control and equipped to face these challenges. If you continue to keep this pain bottled up, these problems are not likely to dissipate on their own. With help and support, you can achieve on-going relief.
I don’t want to talk about being molested as a child.
During our sessions together, we move at a pace that feels comfortable and manageable for you. And, there are several approaches that enable us to address the trauma without explicitly talking through the event. Somatic experiencing and hakomi are body-based practices. I may employ other creative solutions that allow you to process your distress without ever reliving the event itself. Step by step, we will work collaboratively to release the pent-up energy from your body so that that you can experience profound balance and relief.
Healing From Sexual Abuse Is Possible
If you’re an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse living in Denver, CO, please call 720-608-0174 for a free 30-minute phone consultation. I am happy to discuss any questions you have about my practice or how sexual abuse counseling can help you heal.